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Windows Server 2008 RDS Server

Posted on 2011-04-28
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I'm trying to figure out how to set this up to serve a couple outside users a virtual desktop.. can somebody point me to this documentation? MS docs seem convoluted with too much info and too general..
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Question by:zequestioner
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by:zequestioner
ID: 35487386
I've also looked at virtualbox but it doesn't seem like I'll be able to provide a remote connection to those virtual desktops. Any suggestions on opensource or other remote desktop/ virtual desktop software?
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by:ryan_johnston
ID: 35487569
If you only have a few users, Citrix is the way I'd go.
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by:bluemercury
ID: 35487581
Hi there.

I may be able to advise a few ideas, if you give a bit more info. For starters, are you looking just to have an isolated user session on the same server (using technology like Remote Desktop, running multiple user sessions on one 'computer'), or do you want completely segregated virtual machine machines, running isolated 'computers' that are accessible remotely for each user?

Hope that makes sense - reading your two comments, I'm not sure what direction you'd like to take...
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by:zequestioner
ID: 35493519
Hello, I've been able to do this by using Vista Business Desktop VM's running on ESXi 4.1.

Does Citrix offer a free solution such as this and will it provide better performance?
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bluemercury earned 2000 total points
ID: 35494320
Hey Ze,

This was one line I was going advise down, once I knew what you were after - segregated VMs, or the same computer running multiple terminal accounts (I.e. a terminal server / RDS, or in fact seperate desktop OSs altogether - your're first question wasn't 100% clear....).

I went down the same route recently you're trying out - we needed to run a virtual desktop infrastructure for Windows at work (with remote access via RDP), and ESXi 4.1 has provided a perfect platform for running segregated desktop OSs as well as Servers (I have tested it with Vista & 7 too). It's worth being aware that the free version does have some hardware limits though, although under most circumstances these aren't too intrusive.

To the best of my knowledge, Citrix does not offer any of its direct products for free. The only 'free' implementations of some of the Citrix techonology are the elements including in some copies of Windows (parts of the RDP specification were developed by Citrix, during an MS / Citrix co-operation in the past). As for their current Virtulisation products, I don't think anything is free.

Going back to your point on VirtualBox though - the remote access (via the Remote Desktop Client) is independent of the virtualisation technology. I have setup many copies of Windows in VirtualBox VMs, and with remote desktop setup correctly in the OS, you can access and use them fine. So I think something might not be quite right in your config of the virtual hardware, or the Guest OS itself....

Also, what version of 2008 server are you licensed for? Some versions support the Hyper-V role, which is a free Hypervisor product made by Microsoft (I think you need at least Enterprise Edition though). They also still produce Microsoft Virtual Server for free, although this isn't very well supported anymore, and doesn't perform as well as other products on the market (such as ESXi or Hyper-V).

Good luck - let me know if you need anymore help :)
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by:ryan_johnston
ID: 35494838
For what your situation is, I agree with Blue Mercury's assessment.  Citrix would be better for a larger scale operation.

And XenServer and the XenCenter software is completely free :)....unless you need their support, and other things.
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by:bluemercury
ID: 35495173
Hey Ryan - my apologies, I stand corrected, I haven't clocked Citrix had free versions! Makes sense with the competition that they would be facing in the market from MS & VMware, if they didn't have some freebie foundation offering. I haven't looked properly at any of Citrix's recent offerings, as I must confess I've been firmly routed in the WMware camp for some years now.

I note from the comparison chart that (like the ESXi freebie) that its scope is a little more restricted than paid for / supported versions: http://www.citrix.com/English/ps2/products/subfeature.asp?contentID=2300456

Thanks for correction, I've learnt a little something there :)
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by:zequestioner
ID: 35948320
Running VMware with 2 vm's seems kinda slow. (2 vista desktops on top of ESXi)

Thanks for all the help and info! We are using our ssl web vpn instead of RDS to avoid more licensing costs. Thanks!
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by:zequestioner
ID: 36156639
Windows RDS server has much better performance. Multiple user sessions running all apps, etc.
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